Archive for January, 2015

News and Analysis (1/13/15)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Were the terrorists who murderously attacked Charlie Hebdo stoking French-Muslim anger as the “French army officers called the Organisation de l’armée secrète (O.A.S.) in favor of French rule in Algeria killed innocent Muslims in a last-ditch effort—a mutiny of sorts—to thwart independence”?

Steven Emerson apologized for his absurd Islamophobic attacks on Birmingham, claiming he “relied on sources he had used in the past” …

… but Emerson’s career is based on absurd statements from unreliable sources …

… but ACT! for America’s president and founder Brigitte Gabriel‘s claim that “180 million to 300 million [Muslims are] dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization” deserves a disinformation award of its own:

“Central to free speech activism has always been the distinction between defending the right to disseminate Idea X and agreeing with Idea X, one which only the most simple-minded among us are incapable of comprehending.” There is no need to embrace repugnant speech:

“The cover shows [a caricature of an Arab man] shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ in sympathy with the dead journalists. The headline says ‘all is forgiven'”:

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him said the true Muslim is the one from whose hands people are safe from harm, and the Qur’an says taking a life is like taking the life of an entire people and saving a life is like saving the life of an entire people:

“Among the 54 anti-Muslim incidents, there have been 21 reports of shootings and grenade throwing at Islamic buildings, as well as 33 cases of threats and insults, said Abdallah Zekri, president of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France…. The figures were provided by the Interior Ministry”:

“[A]n Iraq war veteran, university students, a coalition of mosques, and the head of a religious school for girls. All are united by their Muslim faith, their residency in New Jersey and the fact they were targeted by the New York Police Department in a mass surveillance program”:

“Egypt’s high court on Tuesday overturned the only remaining conviction against former president Hosni Mubarak, opening the way for his possible release four years after the revolution that toppled him”:

News and Analysis (1/11/15)

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

From the ninth century al-Jahiz and the 13th century Mullah Nasreddin to today’s Azhar Usman (of the “Axis of Evil” Comedy tour fame),  Muslim satirists have an honorable history, but they target themselves and the powerful, not the helpless, the oppressed, or the sacred symbols of minorities …

… “While one can defend the right of satirists, government officials, and philosophers to espouse such beliefs, … in the case of cultural production, context always matters. Destructive policies cannot be pursued successfully without the vocabulary and imagery of racism and hatred of the other”:

“I feel an immense sadness but above all anger…. [W]hen we’re in disagreement we respond to art with art, to wit with wit. We never respond to a drawing with blood. No! Never. These victims are martyrs, and I shall pray for them with all my heart” — Imam Hassen Chalghoumi:

“Charlie Hebdo has a right to publish whatever it wants[, even] … images … reinforcing racial and religious hierarchies. In a country where women’s headgear is legislated, religious expression is curtailed and a former prime minister calls minorities ‘scum,’ what Hebdo does seems like bullying”:

“[H]e ushered about 15 people into the basement room after the gunman burst into the shop. He then turned off the power and the lights” but when he left the basement “he was placed in handcuffs “for an hour and a half, … but eventually … help[ed] the authorities plan … liberate the hostages”:

“I will persevere even harder to learn more about my faith so I can counter misunderstanding and discrimination in a positive manner, the way Prophet Mohammed did it'”:

“Palestinians also gathered in Hebron in the West Bank on Saturday, the Jerusalem Post reports. ‘This is a stand alongside the French people, who usually stand by the Palestinians,’ said Anwar Abu Aisha, head of the Hebron-France Association for Cultural Exchanges” …

… and “Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said what he called ‘takfiri terrorist groups’ had insulted Islam more than “even those who have attacked the messenger of God through books depicting the Prophet or making films depicting the Prophet or drawing cartoons of the Prophet'”:

“Bertelsmann Stiftung[‘s] in-depth study on Muslims in Germany … found that while the vast majority of the country’s 4 million Muslims identify with German democracy, the population at large regards them with suspicion…. 61 percent of Germans don’t believe Islam is compatible with life in the West”:

“The judge said she was struck that Mustafa referred to the kidnappings without remorse, saying, ‘We didn’t know it would be that bad.’ She said it was as if ‘you were remarking on a day that had rain when you thought there would be sunshine'”:

News and Analysis (1/9/15)

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The policeman “killed by hooded gunmen on the streets of Paris while he begged for his life, is [a Muslim] originally from Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb outside of Paris. He had been working for the French police for eight years”:

“How satire is handled is a question of how vulnerable the people in a culture and in power feel…. However, it is one thing to make a joke about a rich man or a powerful man who slips and falls. It is something entirely different and not funny to make a joke about your poor old grandmother slipping and falling”:

“[H]ow does one counter offensive words/images? Had the shooters in Paris actually bothered opening the Qur’an, they would have known about ‘repel evil with something that is lovelier'” — Omid Safi …

… so whence the idea that Islam opposes freedom of expression? Saudi Arabia has spurned pleas from its longstanding US ally to “cancel [its] brutal punishment” for what Amnesty International calls “daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression'”:

“Remarkably, a salesman has told how he shook hands with one of the suspects when they arrived at the printing business, thinking he was a police officer because he was heavily armed and dressed in black. The man, named Didier, said the gunmen told him: ‘Go, we don’t kill civilians'” …

… meanwhile, “[p]ressure is mounting on the French authorities to explain how Islamic extremists were allegedly able to carry out the deadly attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, despite being well known to the intelligence services”:

“The saying ‘There is no such thing as a dumb question’ may not apply here”:

“The president’s spokesman has denied that the jobs were formally offered. But a source close to President Ghani said the government should be drawn “not just from the two teams, but from all parties in Afghanistan”:

“I cannot speak for Jesus, but I can quote his teachings and he said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’… How would he react to me playing Jesus? He wouldn’t judge it…. [P]laying this part highlights his teaching in a very nice way”:

News And Analysis (01/7/15)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

“The Muslim Council of France, and of Britain, have denounced today’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. As they know, one of the aims of the jihadis is to try to speak for Islam – but they have been joined in their condemnation by hundreds of Muslims on Twitter” …

… and Tariq Ramadan, who says that using “frustrations that we have in the West as to … equal citizenship and racism … to support what is in fact not acceptable … has to be condemned” …

… and Irshad Manji says, “As a monotheist, I am not God. Nor am I entitled to behave as God. Hence my duty to let a thousand nonviolent flowers bloom. In short, to devote myself to Allah is to love liberty” …

… and Simon Jenkins says, “the most effective response is to meet terrorism on its own terms. It is to refuse to be terrified. It is not to show fear, not to overreact, not to over-publicise the aftermath”:

“The head of the world’s largest Islamic organization on Monday paid a rare visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque,putting himself in direct opposition to those “religious leaders [who say] that the city should be avoided while under Israeli control”:

The West tells its  Muslim citizens “to speak out: it wants them to support its foreign policies and its domestic policies (on surveillance and terrorism, for example).But it only wants them to speak out if they are supportive of the particular policies of the particular political party in power”:

“The Michigan Muslim Community Council has partnered with Islamic Relief USA, the largest Muslim charity organization in the country, to help thousands of households at risk of having their water shut off”:

“Social websites including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have already been blocked by censors, though many young and Web-savvy Iranians use proxy servers or other workarounds to bypass the controls”:

The polarization in Germany continues to accelerate:

Palestinians “will focus on last year’s 50-day war between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas group in Gaza and on Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands…. The court’s 2002 founding charter says a state commits a war crime if it transfers its civilians to territory it occupies”:


News and Analysis (01/5/15)

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Free speech requires readers be allowed to judge Houellebecq’s claim that although his novel uses “scare tactics … it’s not clear what we are meant to be afraid of, [white far-right] nativists or Muslims;” but then that same freedom should be extended  Roger Garaudy’s The Founding Myths of Israel:

“In effect, HarperCollins[, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation,] achieved what the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened at the stroke of a pen: wiped Israel off the map” – Alex Brummer – “HarperCollins author and vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews”:

“Al-Azhar’s newly formed Monitor of Infedilizing Fatwas Dept., which responds to radical Islamists’ fatwas labeling other Muslims apostates, has already issued many articles slamming the ‘extremist opinions’ of ‘non-specialized’ sheikhs” and its “Facebook page in English … has 56,050 likes thus far”:

“Over the long term, the United States’ years-long campaign to put down the al-Qaida branch is likely to suffer, warns Bill Roggio from Long War Journal, which chronicles militant activities”:

After attacks on a mosque in Sweden, “[r]esidents of Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth-largest city, have gathered to show their support for the local Muslim community after a local mosque was attacked by a petrol bomb”:

“Habib Essid, 65, who has a month to form a coalition and name a Cabinet, occupied several posts under former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including in the Interior Ministry, which manages the police” but his party “ust form a coalition with several other parties in the parliament to gain a majority”:

“Last month the village was the scene of one of Nigeria’s most deadly incidents since the Islamist insurgency began in 2009, with locals saying 185 of their kin died, most of them civilians and most of them burned to death. That figure has been disputed by the military”:

“[T]he jets struck the tanker twice Monday in Darna before his government was informed that it was commissioned by the local power station…. Darna is a base for Islamic extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group” …

… but as Western interest in intervention mounts, “the speaker of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament spoke out Monday against any Western military intervention in his country”:

Muslims in Kenya celebrate “Mawlid i- Nabi” or the birth of the of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). “Songs were played in the procession, which also included dance performances carried out by children enrolled in schools teaching Muslims’ holy book, the Quran”:






News and Analysis (1/4/15)

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Hanan Ashrawi calls Israel’s attempts to punish Palestinians for joining the ICC “highway robbery. Not only is this illegal, they are adding money theft to land theft. The revenues belong to the Palestinian people, they go to pay salaries and support our economy. Israel has no business deciding to steal our funds”:

“Dr. Hathout believed that American Muslims would contribute to America by practicing the Islamic values of mercy, equity and justice. He moved many of us from darkness to light and he wanted all of us to discover the power in the Quran’s message to do the same for others” — MPAC Statement  …

… Some attempted to deny Hatout was a moderate Muslim because of his “disparaging remarks he had made about Israel ,” but according his confidant, the late Leonard Rabbi Beerman, “he expressed a gracious desire for communication with those who stood against him. It was a sign of who he was as a man”:

“Rouhani both countered … critics worried Iran will give up too much while also attempting to signal his administration remains open to negotiation … [saying, if] ‘we are ready to stop some types of enrichment which we do not need at this time, does it mean we have compromised our principles and cause?'”

Anti-Muslim demonstrations continue in Germany,but “while thousands demonstrated under the PEGIDA flag in Dresden, thousands more took to the streets of other German cities – including 12,000 in Munich – against racism and Islamophobia” …

… and “[o]ne of Germany’s most famous landmarks, Cologne Cathedral, will be plunged into darkness on Monday evening in protest at a march by a growing grass-roots anti-Muslim movement through the western German city, cathedral authorities said”:

“Sweden has long been a racially segregated country where many immigrants live in ghettos and struggle to find jobs, but that the success of the Sweden Democrats has made racism more socially acceptable”:

“The Islamophobic reaction many of us feared, did not rear its ugly head to the extent as was witnessed in the aftermath of Operation Appleby. Rather, we came together as a family”:

“We hold the U.S. legally responsible for the death of my father. He had developed cancer while being in prison in America. [He] had undergone surgery in a hospital and had been sent back afterwards to prison though his condition had not been stable” — Al Liby’s son his son Ahmed al-Ragye:

Muslim “[l]eaders around the world … have issued strong and unambiguous statements virtually every time a violent attack has occurred, condemning such acts as immoral and counter to the fundamental precepts of Islam. Yet somehow their responses are not being heard, barely registering in the public consciousness”:

“Hardline Islamic groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda’s Nusra Front have benefited from the infighting [among other rebels] and have emerged as some of the strongest factions in the conflict”:


News and Analysis (1/2/15)

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Defense lawyers … hoped for speedy trial given a changing political climate between Egypt and [Al-Jazeera’s home base] Qatar … which recently promised to ease tensions in the greater Middle East by dropping its support for Islamist groups throughout the region, like Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood”:

After fighting for twenty years, “Muslims living in the city of Kaliningrad, whose application was denied by Russian courts, then made an application to the ECHR. Muslims in Kaliningrad have fought for 20 long years in order to build their own mosque”:

In Great Britain, radicalization of young Muslims “seems to be happening away from the community behind closed doors and when you hear about it, it’s too late… These guys who are radicalized and go abroad – you never see them at any mosque,” said a volunteer youth leader at the Wycombe Islamic Society:

In Nigeria, “[a] leading Nigerian Muslim group has urged Muslims to support military operations against Boko Haram insurgents in the restive northeast, asking them to take up arms to defend themselves against militant attacks”:

Netanyahu “pledged to protect Israeli soldiers from any potential prosecution” for their crimes against humanity, and the U.S. continues to insulate the apartheid state from the consequences …

… “Israel is not a member of the court and does not recognize its jurisdiction. And the court has no police force and no authority to go into Israel and arrest suspects. But it could issue arrest warrants that would make it difficult for Israeli officials to travel abroad”:

“Tunisia set off the Arab uprisings known as the Arab Spring; Tunisia has now demonstrated that democracy and Arab culture can go hand in hand”:

In India, “Men playing the part of enemies of the state in a ‘mock terror’ drill…were made to wear the traditional Muslim hat, triggering indignation in political circles that Muslims are terrorists”:

“Allah calls on Muslims to be affectionate and loving. The state of mind described in the words “…take the believers under your wing” makes it clear that the affection of Muslims must be an ethical model that covers not just certain specific events, but every moment of life.”: